The Judo World Championships in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, were to be those of consecration for Clarisse Agbégnénou, in search of a seventh world title in less than 63 kilos, and of confirmation for Madeleine Malonga (− 78 kilos) , preferred to Audrey Tcheuméo in the selection for the Paris Olympic Games. Wednesday May 22, at the middle of the competition, they smiled at another Frenchwoman, Margaux Pinot, who won gold in the less than 70 kilos category, and obtained her first world title against the second Habs entered in this category, Marie-Eve Gahié.

The names of the two finalists were known from the start of the afternoon, it remained to distribute the color of the medals between the two judokas licensed by Paris Saint-Germain Judo. This is the first time that two French women have faced each other in the world judo final.

Throughout the eliminatory phase, which began early Wednesday morning in the Emirati sports complex where the fights took place in less than 70 kilos and less than 78 kilos in the women’s draw, in less than 90 kilos on the men’s side, Margaux Pinot, 30 years old, shared her experience and followed to the letter the instructions of her coach Séverine Vandenhende, seated in the front row, who repeated to her like a mantra “be patient”.

In the round of 16, she showed determination to overcome Australian Aoife Coughlan after 6 minutes and 45 seconds of combat (scheduled to last four minutes). In the next round, she eliminated the Japanese Shiho Tanaka once again by golden score, after an even longer confrontation. On the other hand, she proved to be quick in the semi-final, obtaining an ippon over her Greek opponent Elisavet Teltsidou after only 18 seconds of combat.

A tense and silent finale

In a tense and silent final in the absence of a coach, since the two opponents shared the same nationality, the native of Besançon managed to bring down Marie-Eve Gahié during the golden score by clipping both of her legs. Bronze medalist in 2019, Margaux Pinot reaches gold this time.

The one who represented France at the Tokyo Games and had to give up her place for those in Paris to Marie-Eve Gahié, 27 years old – 2019 world champion and double European champion – obtains this world crown almost two months from now. OJ. This non-selection, “I have digested it for a while. I had Europe and the World directly in my sights. Which means I was able to remobilize myself,” she confided to the press.

This performance will not, however, call into question the already validated choice of the French selection for the Paris Games. But Bisontine remembers above all a “revenge on life”, after a complicated period both on a private and sporting level. In November 2021, a violent altercation took place between Margaux Pinot and her then companion and trainer, Alain Schmitt, at the judoka’s home in Blanc-Mesnil (Seine-Saint-Denis). Released at first instance by the Paris criminal court, the technician was acquitted again in June 2022, on appeal, of these acts of domestic violence.

The now world champion in the under 70 kilo category also had to deal with a motorcycle accident, requiring a month off while she was preparing for the 2022 World Championships, held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, from which she returned empty-handed as an individual , but adorned with silver in the mixed team event. “Two years ago, I was at my lowest. I had to remobilize myself following small personal problems, downplayed the Frenchwoman, quoted by Agence France-Presse. I had to find my way back to the tatami mats, to redo medals. I changed clubs two or three times. Afterwards, at PSG, I once again felt a very square working atmosphere where I could progress. »

And she had to beat, on Wednesday afternoon, an opponent that she knows by heart, in club and in the French team: “She is a very strong girl, who will make the Games. I enjoyed it even more because I knew it was going to be a very difficult fight. (…) It was a pretty tough fight on the hands. We felt that there was violence. We both wanted the title. »

In the under 78 kilo category, Madeleine Malonga, selected for the Olympics, won bronze against the Korean Lee Jeong-yun. World champion in 2019, vice-world champion in 2021, she adds a third world medal to her list of achievements. In the other small final, Audrey Tcheuméo failed against the British Emma Reid, a month after her fifth European title.